Here are three books that I’ve read recently. Oddly enough, all were checked out of our local library.
Master of Shadows: The Secret Diplomatic Career of the Painter Peter Paul Rubens by Mark Lamster. I came across a piece of writing by the author from a friend on Facebook, saw the title of his book and was intrigued by it. Who knew the artist Peter Paul Ruebens was also diplomat? Because of his profession, Rubens had access to the Royal Courts of Spain, Italy, France, and England. Combined with his deep knowledge of a wide range of subjects, it made him the perfect unacknowledged diplomat.
America’s Report Card by John McNally. Dear Lord is this book funny. I picked it up at the library when I went to get Master of Shadows. I was browsing the stacks in the fiction section. It’s about a misfit high school student struggling with her strange family and her future, and a young guy with a masters in film criticism who finds himself without his girlfriend and stuck in a soul-deadening job scoring standardized tests. The plot runs out of steam near the end and the satire gets heavy-handed, but before that it’s an hysterical look at the weird importance placed on standardized tests and being over-educated and underemployed.
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. This book by the author of Goodnight Moon (which has been read to both of my kids probably hundreds of times) was checked out of the library by my wife on behalf of our two-year-old daughter. I’ve had to read it at least a couple dozen times now. My daughter loves it. I think it’s creepy. The little boy bunny tells his mom he’s going to run away. If he becomes part of a mountain she’s going to be a mountain climber to get him. If he goes on sail boat she’s going to become the wind and blow him where she wants him to go. Etc. Finally, he gives up and stays at home. Recommended for Helicopter Parents and Mammonis.
(Note: Our daughter gnawed off one corner of the book. So we bought another copy for the library. The librarian was grateful, but seemed genuinely shocked that we had purchased a replacement for them.)